Gear walkthrough from our Fulufjället hike

I’ve tweaked my gear over the years, but the thing that’s changed most of the times is probably the tent, since I never seem to find the perfect one, and still haven’t. Having a lightweight setup felt more important when hiking with my family. I carry most of my daughters gear, and I also wanted to carry more of the shared gear since I wanted Maria to be as comfortable as possible since she’s not as used to hiking as I am.

(Disclaimer: Below list contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission for purchases made through the links. The gear is bought with my own money though.)

Backpacks

I used my Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 4400 (int) (SE) with the pack pods (int) (SE). It’s a good roomy pack that’s more or less waterproof. It feels durable, and I’ve had it a few years without any issues. I really like using it with the pods to fully utilize all the space and I like the roomy front pocket.

Maria used the Exped Lightning 60 with the optional front pocket. It was my first lightweight backpack, and it is super comfortable. I seam sealed it on the inside to get it a bit more waterproof. The bungee straps on the front pocket is getting a bit stretched out, but other than that it’s in good shape. It’s a really great pack, and since it has an adjustable back height Maria can use it too.

C used a Bergans Lilletind 12 rolltop. They sell them with top lids too, but I prefer roll tops as it’s a lot easier to compress the pack when you’re not carrying that much. It has a waist belt, but it’s important to remember not to pack too heavy for a kid, even if it fits in the backpack.

Tent

We used Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 (int) (SE) with a full inner (int) (SE) and a Ruta Loca center pole. I’ve had quality issues with my tent (probably because it was made when they had a record high demand and was getting behind schedule), and using a mid with a full inner in a downpour means a good likelyhood of getting rain in your inner. But despite the downsides I was very pleased with the tent.

It has a large footprint, but since it is that large, and use a tall center pole it has a lot of usable space inside. It was very welcomed at our second campsite, as it was swarmed by mosquitoes. I like to spread out too, so using it for 2 adults and 1 kid was perfect.

It’s also very lightweight. I haven’t weighted mine, but the official weight is 657g for the fly, 765g for the inner and 271g for the center pole. I think my mix of groundhogs, shepard hooks and nails weigh 200g. It’s a 4 person sub 1900g shelter, and you could save 250g if you ditch the center pole and use pole straps (int) (SE) and hiking poles instead.

When we had our camp set up we used half the inner for mine and Marias sleeping pad, 1/4 of the inner for all of our gear and 1/4 for a CCF-mat for C, where we also could sit, cook etc.

Sleeping pads and pillows

Me and Maria used an Exped Duomat HL LW. It weighs 1155g, so the UL-purists might frown upon the LW-part but it is definitely worth it in my book. It weighs more than two UL pass, but with a size of 200x130cm and two separate air chambers it’s a very comfortable pad, and it takes up half of the inner tent. I think this is as comfortable as it gets when sleeping outdoors.

We brought my Exped Winterlite HL for C, but she kept rolling off, so she used a CCF-mat instead, and preferred that.

As a pillow I used Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuffsack pillow (int) (SE) with my Cumulus Incredilite Endurance downpuffy (int) (SE) and extra socks stuffed in it. It’s fairly comfortable. Maria used a Thermarest Compressible Pillow, that is quite heavy and bulky, but probably one of the most comfortable hiking pillows there is.

Sleeping bags

I used my Cumulus Quilt 450 (int) (SE)and I love it. I had their first generation quilt, but never liked the strap system. With their updated models they fixed the issues I had and I really like it. It’s lightweight, warm and flexible, as it can open up as a square quilt, or strap up a foot box.

My wife used an Aegismax G1. I’ve washed it with Nixwax Downproof to make it more moist proof, and it is well worth it’s money. It’s warm and light and a good choice for someone on a budget, or buying for someone who rarely uses it like my wife. But if that’s not the case I do prefer Cumulus and supporting local high end manufacturers.

C uses a Cumulus Junior 250. Originally they use 750cuin down in their Junior bags, but they make them for order, and I ordered C:s with 850cuin down instead, to get more loft with the same weight. She’s never been cold in it, but when we’re winter camping she sleeps in a fleece base layer and I usually bring a quilt to throw above the back if she would get cold.

Stove set

I have a lot of stove sets, and a nostalgic love for Trangias. I did consider bringing my Trangia 27HA but in the end I didn’t want to carry all that weight. So I used my Toaks 1350ml pot (115g) (int) (SE), an Evernew titanium frying pan (155g) and a Firemaple 117T burner (104g). It’s really lightweight but a large enough pot for us, and a frying pan for pancakes or falafel. Since the hike I bought a Soto Windmaster (int) (SE) that I’ve heard a lot of good things about.

Conclusion

I was happy with the gear we used, and I don’t have any complaints. I do look forward to trying the Soto Windmaster, as I’ve read that its a very efficient stove even in wind. The sleep system is dialed in and I also think it’s hard to get a better setup with the tent, since I like to keep the weight down while still having a lot of room to spread out. In general I’d say my gear is as dialed in as it gets. I have considered a couples quilt, but I don’t know if it would be worth the money, since Maria doesn’t join us that often. I have also considered buying the Thermarest Compressible pillow in the large size for me, but it’s really heavy and bulky, and I think I’ll just stick with the stuff sack pillow.

C:s first thru hike

Ok, so the term thru hike is probably more or less reserved for longer trails, but this was the first time C hiked the entire length of a trail, so I’m calling it a thru hike for her.

My oldest daughter got a gift card for a spa on her 16th birthday, and was going to Kosta Boda Art Hotel with her mother in late June. At the same time my son was staying a couple of days on “Kortis” (a sort of relief home for families with disabled children). This was a perfect time for me and C to go hiking.

I had found a circle trail just outside of Kosta in the nature reserve Visjön. It’s an 8km trail, and I thought it would be a good trail for two days of hiking with C.

We dropped off my wife and oldest daughter at the hotel, and drove north towards Visjön. We parked the car in the west side of the lake, just north of a shooting range. It had started to rain when we arrived, and the forecast showed rain for the next two days. But C was in a good mood. After a short hike along the borders of the shooting range we arrived at the lake. We turned north and hiked along the esker that borders most of the west side of the lake.

After a while we saw the ground sort of moving. With a closer look we saw that the ground was littered with small 1-2cm long frogs. They where everywhere for a long part of the trail. We tried to watch our steps so we wouldn’t step on them. Every now and then we stopped to pick blueberries.

We came to the north side of the lake, and turned down south on the east shore before making dinner. We had noodles with beef jerkey and cheese. So far we hadn’t seen a single suitable place to set up the tent. Eventually we came down to the parking and info sign marked on the map. On a small peninsula nearby we found a perfect spot for our tent, and room for many more too.

The rain had stopped earlier, but we set up the tent right away, and put up the hammock. This time I had brought the half inner, to be able to get in and out of the tent without having rain falling into the inner. On 2/3 of the vestibule I had a polycro groundsheet for the gear. This was actually a perfect setup for me and C. The half inner was large enough for us, without feeling cramped, and we had a large area for the gear.

I made dinner for us, and then we just hung out in the hammock and eat snacks. It didn’t take long before we both fell asleep.

When we woke up it started to rain slightly, so we took down the hammock and retreated to the tent. C watched Vaiana on my phone while I was reading a book writter by a reporter and a photographer who got kidnapped in Syria a few years ago.

After the movie it was time for C to go to sleep. The rain had started to pour down, and once again I had water seeping through, and dropping down on my face. I was pissed. I had carefully taped the insides where the midway corner guylines attatches and where the plastic struts for the vents are, but still water came through. But this time I saw the source. Water kept seeping through the seams on the top hat, and ran down on the inside of the tent before dropping down on my face. I sent a mail to HMG again, and this time I got the $58 i paid for the shipping back. Since then I’ve taped up those seams too, so I think it will be ok now. But then and there I regretted selling my heavier Hillebergs for this. Hilleberg fans can almost be a bit cultist from time to time, but in the end there’s a reason for it. I’ve had three Hillebergs (and a lot of other tents too) and their quality do stand out.

I was a bit annoyed that the super expensive tent didn’t hold up as expected, but I managed to let it go and go to sleep.

The next morning we had chocolate banana oatmeal for breakfast, before packing up. It was raining heavy this morning. C jumped in water pools as we hiked along.

On the southern section of the trail we came to a large open area that probably serves as a pasture from time to time. There weren’t any animals there at that time, so it could have been a nice place for a tent. The place had an abundance of wild strawberries. We ate a lot, and I could barely get C to continue hiking with me.

After that we had a section of road hiking before turning back north on the esker we started with. C was starting to get a bit tired, but it was only a short hike left to the car. When we got to the car we took of our wet rain gear. C was dry as a bone, but my cheapo rainpants had leaked through, and I might as well have skipped them all together.

This was C:s first hike of an entire trail. We’ve done a lot of paddling, camping and off trail hiking but this was the first time she hiked an entire trail. It went really good, even though her favourite part is hanging out in camp. (It’s actually my favourite part too, when I’m not solo hiking)

Camping with “Skogsknytte” friends

C has been going to Frilufsfrämjandet Skogsknytte for 1,5 years. Some of us have talked about going camping with the kids, and in the middle of May we got out on a camp with E and her father Christoffer.

We had scouted suitable areas, and I had found a nice looking oak meadow, just south of a nature reserve close to Växjö. Camping is prohibited within the reserve, but allowed outside through “Allemansrätten”. To be fair, the oak meadow was more beautiful than lots of the reserve. There are pastures around here, so one isn’t allowed to camp here if there are any animals there.

Under the old magnificent oak trees the ground was covered with Wood Anemone and Heath Peas.

C and I arrived first, and found a nice spot for two tents. After a while we heard E and Christoffer coming through the meadow. We set up our tents, and it started raining. We’d had sun and great weather all week, but once we got out we had rain. And it rained a lot. A litteral downpour all evening and all night. Having a Mid with a full inner provided some difficulties in a never endimg downpour, as it kept raining in everytime we entered or exited the tent.

We made dinner, and on the meny this time was tortilla pizza. I liked them, but they weren’t C:s favourite. Perhaps because she just wanted to play with E instead of eating.

The kids played with My Little Ponies in the Ultamid at first, but later in the evening they retreated to E and Christoffers tent, where they watched movies until late in the evening. Christoffer and I stayed outside, eating snacks and having a couple of cold beers. When it was time to put the kids to sleep we asked ourselfs why we had stayed out in the rain instead of just sitting in the tent.

C was super tired when we got back to our tent, and she fell asleep right away. I didn’t though, because I had found out that the tent was leaking. Water seeped through somewhere, and dropped down on the inner, and through the mesh onto the gear. I got pretty upset with it. The tent costs a fortune, and all the reviews holds it up to be some kind of super shelter, and I had water dropping down. I’ve had the Ultamid 2 before and didn’t have this issue. I mailed Hyperlite Mountain Gear right away, and later got a roll of DCF-tape sent, and a description on where the trouble spots usually are. (The story unfortunately will continue in my next post)

The next morning I had to wake C up. It felt like she could’ve slept forever. I made french toast for breakfast and we explored the area around the meadow before packing up.

It was fun to camp with E and Christoffer, and the first time to camp on that place. The rain was unfortunate though, but we’ll definitely come back here again. Christoffer and I talked about bringing canoes the next time.

My first ski camping trip, and the new tent

Trip report

I have wanted cross country skis for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until last year that I actually got around to buy a pair.

I wanted a pair that could suite all the potential adventures I could think of. My dream is to make ski camping trips in the mountains, and I bought a pair of Åsnes Amundsen with Alaska BC boots.

Last year I only got around to use them on a couple of occasions before the snow melted. But last weekend I could finally get out on a short ski camping trip.

I hadn’t really planned to go camping, but the weather was fantastic, and my new tent had arrived the same week so my wife thought I should take the chance to get out, since it would probably be the last week with snow.

Since I hadn’t planned anything I quickly had to search for a place nearby where it would be possible to ski and camp. I found Storasjöområdet, 30 min east of Växjö, checked the authority website that camping was allowed, quickly packed the back pack and skis and headed off.

I’d never been in that area before, but from the info I had it seemed to be a lot of mires and a couple of descent trails. I expected a smaller version of Stora Mosse, where I had been on a day trip a couple of weeks earlier.

Once there I read a sign that said camping was prohibited. It looked old though, and double checking on the website it said that camping in caravans and motor-homes was prohibited.

I started skiing the yellow trail. After some 500 meters a sign pointed to a side trail leading to a bird watching tower. I skid out to the tower, watched the view and then went back to the main trail. I was scouting for potential campsites from the beginning, since I didn’t know how the rest of the trail would look like, and it was already a bit late when I arrived.

I came to a sign that showed that the longer trail had been closed, and from the looks of it there where a lot of storm felled trees. I continued on the 2,1 km yellow trail instead.

The trail had been nice to ski on in the beginning, but soon turned for the worse. It hadn’t snowed enough to even out the ground, and the trail twisted and turned between rocks and tree stumps. My skis really took a beating, and in retrospect I should have just carried them and walked instead.

I had passed a couple of potential campsites in the beginning of the trail, and closing in on the end of the loop trail I started to realize that I wouldn’t find anything else. Blood sugar was getting low, and I just wanted to get to camp.

I came back to the car and started a new lap on the round trail. About a km in I stopped at the area that I had checked out in the first round. It was a large fairly flat area, and I stomped the snow with the skis to compress it and make it more even.

After that I started with dinner while the compressed snow got time to freeze more solid. The dinner was just a freeze dried Goulash. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t a taste experience to write home about. I haven’t made any home dried meals in a while, so I’ll have to make due with the bought stuff.

As I’ve written before I’ve sold tents to buy another one that better suits my needs. When I transitioned to UL/LW most of my gear got pretty dialed down, but when it comes to tents I never seem to find one I’m pleased with. But I bought a HMG Ultamid 4 with a half- and full inner, to minimize the number of tents in the gear shed and have one tent for everything from solo trips to family trips. With my Tentipi Safir 5 for hot tent camping I thinks these are the only two tents I’ll need.

Since it was brand new the guy-lines weren’t attached, so I laid out the tent, dug holes in the snow to secure the tent pegs for the corners and cut and tied the guy-lines while the snow around the tent pegs froze solid. I used a midshipman’s hitch for the bottom ends of the guy-lines to have easily adjustable loops since there aren’t any linelocs for them.

When the pegs where solid and all the guy lines attached I set up my two connected ski poles as a center pole and set up the half inner. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and no wind was forecasted so I didn’t really need a tent, and absolutely not an inner. But I was eager to try out the new gear.

When everything was up it was already dark. I was getting really cold and just wanted to get inside my sleeping bag. Temps where forecasted to drop to around -12⁰C, so I had brought both my Cumulus Panyam 600 and my Wind Hard Tiny quilt. I don’t know if I really needed the quilt, but I’ll rather be too warm than freezing during the night.

I laid in the sleeping bag, snacking on nougats and chocolate and reading. I always bring my ebook reader with me, but I had to warm it up inside the sleeping bag for it to wake up.

I was really tired so around 21.00 I decided that I wouldn’t fight it any more but just try to sleep instead. But despite being so tired I had a really restless night. I wasn’t cold, but I couldn’t relax, so I drifted in and out of sleep all night.

I woke up before dawn. I had brought both a down- and a synthetic puffy and put on both. The down puffy had served as my pillow in the HMG Stuff sack pillow, and the synthetic one had been stored in the foot end of my sleeping bag so it wouldn’t be cold in the morning. I stayed in the sleeping bag while I made breakfast. I boiled some water for coffee and for my porridge. One of the water bottles was frozen solid, but I had put hot water in a vacuum bottle the night before, and poured it in the pot and added snow to melt.

The sun started to come up, and it was a beautiful morning. I was tired from tossing and turning most of the night, but I still felt great. It was cold outside, but with hot food in my belly and two puffy jackets on it was actually okey to leave the warm sleeping bag.

I packed up the tent and all my gear, took a stroll around camp to make sure nothing was dropped or lost, put on my skis and started skiing back to the car.

This was my first ski camping trip, and I’d love to do it again. It was cold, and next time I want to do it in an area that’s more suitable for skiing, like Stora Mosse National park. I liked the Ultamid 4 too. It’s large and lightweight and after trying a few different options these last years it feel great to be back again with a lightweight tent. A 4p double walled tent for roughly 1,5kg is really nice to carry.

Gear used

(Disclaimer: Below list contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission for purchases made through the links. The gear is bought with my own money for full price though)

HMG Ultamid 4 (int) (SE)

HMG Ultamid 4 half inner (int) (SE)

HMG Southwest 4400 (int) (SE)

Cumulis Panyam 600 (int) (SE)

Aegismax Wind Hard Tiny

Exped Winterlite HL

HMG Stuff sack pillow L (int) (SE)

Toaks UL 700ml pot (int) (SE)

Storminstove cone/base/stove (unfortunately the maker passed away, but it’s a really nice stove set, comparable to Caldera cone)

Åsnes Amundsen skis with Madshus Rottefella BC Manual bindings and Alpina Alaska boots

Black Diamond Expedition 3 4 season trekking poles

Cumulus Incredilite Endurance (int) (SE)

T&P insulated jacket